Perhaps you’ve gotten one of these text messages going around. Morning anchor Owen Conflenti received the one on the right-hand side of this page. It asks him to “Call Sterling” about “unusual activity.” His first clue that this was a scam was that he doesn’t do any banking with Sterling.
A viewer named Monica got the same text. She called the number and emailed this info:
“The recording is very robotic and asking for 3 pieces of info. linked to my “ghost” account. Starting with entering my 16 digit credit or debit card. I thought you might want to get it out there to your viewers, if you haven’t already.”
By the time I dialed the number tonight to post the audio here on the blog, the number was out of order.
Wheel of Justice Reporter Joel Eisenbaum got a text supposedly from Visa that read “Customer.firstname.lastname@example.org Card Block notification”. To find out why you receive this alert call 1-877-245-1472. Thank you.”
Joel says it’s also frustrating for him because he’s charged for every text that he opens.
Tonight, that number is also out of order.
Another consumer on the website whocallsme, explained what happened when she dialed the number the same day she got the text.
“It is a SCAM. If you call the number it automatically tells you that it is from Credit Union and Card Services and their records indicate that your card has been restricted. It further asks you to stay on the line and then asks you enter you credit card number. Do not enter you credit card number. It is a phishing scam.”
Clearly, you can learn from others that you shouldn’t call the numbers in the text. Your bank or credit card will not text you with this kind of important alert. Sterling has posted a fraud alert online about the scam.
If you get one of these texts and you have the time, you should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. They are aware of the scam intended to get your bank or credit card information. Reports and complaints to their agency help them discover patterns and details that can eventually lead to criminal action.
Remember those “Your auto warranty is about to expire” calls? The FTC finally filed a lawsuit to stop those guys. I know it’s been a long time since I got one of those calls. This texting scam can also be reported to the FTC.